The U.S. has developed a counterattack for cyberterrrorism that could do more harm than good, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden tells Wired magazine.
Snowden, photographed for the story clutching an American flag, said the MonsterMind program was designed to detect a foreign cyberattack and keep it from entering the country. But it also would automatically fire back. The problem, he said, is malware can be routed through an innocent third party country.
"These attacks can be spoofed," he told Wired. "You could have someone sitting in China, for example, making it appear that one of these attacks is originating in Russia. And then we end up shooting back at a Russian hospital. What happens next?"
Snowden, 31, also told the magazine he hopes to return to the U.S. someday.
"I told the government I'd volunteer for prison, as long as it served the right purpose," he said. "I care more about the country than what happens to me. But we can't allow the law to become a political weapon or agree to scare people away from standing up for their rights, no matter how good the deal. I'm not going to be part of that."
Snowden was a contractor for Booz Allen Hamilton when he leaked details of U.S. surveillance programs to The Guardian and The Washington Post. The first reports were published in June 2013, setting off an immediate global firestorm. Snowden, who was in hiding in Hong Kong at the time, fled to Moscow.
The Guardian and Post won the Pulitzer prize for public service for their coverage of Snowden. President Obama promised to scale back surveillance of American citizens. Germany recently ordered the CIA station chief out of the country.
Snowden previously expressed interest in returning to the United States, but said he feared an unjust trial on charges of espionage and theft of government property could result in a lengthy prison sentence.